Viewsonic Looks to Capitalize Desktop SpaceBy Frank Ohlhorst | Posted 2008-02-21 Email Print
Viewsonic’s latest big LCD monitor offers features that put it at home on the power user's desktop.
With a street price of just over $400, the ViewSonic VP2250wb proves to be an affordable monitor for graphics professionals and power users looking to maximize their desktop image. While its 21.8-inch viewable area is far from the largest available, the VP2250wb makes good use of the widescreen LCD with a resolution of 1680 by 1050, a resolution that proves to be not too small and not too big for the typical user.
The monitor does do more than just display an image; users will find an integrated four-port USB 2.0 hub under the back frame of the unit, and although it is a little hard to reach, the USB hub should help to clear up some of the cable clutter associated with the multitude of USB devices floating around today’s desktop PCs.
Also, with a monitor that is designed for a graphics pro, it makes a lot of sense to have a place to plug in digital cameras, video recorders and flash drives close by. With that in mind, ViewSonic should have made the hub a little more accessible.
Further, while the company has the "View" part down pretty well, the "Sonic" area is not covered at all. In other words, the unit lacks any integrated speakers. While it is debatable whether or not a monitor should have speakers, one thing is clear: A monitor with integrated speakers helps to clean up the desktop area and is also more suitable for viewing recorded or live video, such as DVDs, TV or even HDTV. On the flip side, integrated speakers would offer questionable sound quality and would make the unit more expensive and larger. Simply put, if you’re looking to do double duty with this monitor, such as use it on your PC and connect it to a TV/HDTV source, you’re better off looking elsewhere.
We found the unit to be packaged and built well. Setup consists of little more than snapping a large "foot" into the stand and then hooking up the applicable cables. Users will find both VGA and DVI connectors on the unit, along with a standard power cable connector; no external power supply is needed. Interestingly, the unit has an on/off switch located next to the power plug receptacle, but the switch was covered with black tape and hard to see. One could accidentally switch the monitor off while carrying it and then never figure out why the unit won’t power up. The quick start guide doesn’t clearly define or mention the power switch. A minor issue, but one that can confound an installer.
A setup disk is included with the unit and it is probably a good idea to use that setup disk. The disk includes applications that can be used to "tune" the monitor and also simplifies the installation process. A setup wizard guides users through setting the proper resolution and installs the necessary display drivers. Users can then use the included utility to set color temperatures, contrast, brightness and most any other setting that affects image quality. Included sample images make the adjustment process less of a chore.
We used an application called DisplayMate from DisplayMate Technologies to test the image quality of the monitor. DisplayMate shows complex images and cycles through various colors, resolutions and other elements, which makes it easy to judge the quality of the monitor’s viewable image. The application also offers tools to set up a monitor for the best possible image.
The VP2250wb performed splendidly through each of the tests, offering a true representation of each image selected. What’s more, the adjustment tools ViewSonic included did an excellent job of setting up the display; no perceivable improvements in quality were seen by using DisplayMate’s advanced image adjustment tools. The unit’s fast response time of 2 milliseconds eliminated any shadowing or other image-related problems while watching video, while the 3000:1 contrast ratio kept the image sharp from multiple angles.
The VP2250wb proves to be a great monitor for system builders to include with their high-end systems, and the monitor also makes an excellent upgrade for users looking to delve more into image and video editing. Either way, the unit’s affordable price and feature set should make it a winner with most any user.